Saturday, 15 June 2013

"Sir Gomer"s Summer Saturday Service...

Hi guys. Today at 6:30am I arrived at Shackerstone with Pockets, ready to light up the days engine: Peckett 0-6-0ST "Sir Gomer". The ex-Mountain Ash saddle tank is currently the only operational 'line-going' steam loco on the railway and has therefore been used as the mainstay of the services so far this season. She is of course the Shackerstone Railway Society's own engine and therefore is an economical and effective steed for these steady steam services. With 4 coaches and a good few happy passengers behind her, she will causally waddle through the Leicestershire countryside, steaming well and working fine. Having checked her over this morning, I lit the engine up in the shed ready for the day, which would see a 1940s theme echoing around the railway. With a strong fire of Welsh steam coal burning in her firebox, the green 0-6-0 came around slowly but effectively...
Being Oiled Over The Pit
After oiling up and prepping by Andy, myself & trainee fireman Richard, "Sir Gomer" was moved out into the morning weather, which was now warm sun. The locomotive was then cleaned both top & bottom, with the brass dome, whistle and makers plates being cleaned with 'Peek'. When we were finished the loco looked a treat and sat happily outside the shed awaiting the first steam service at 10:30am...
"Sir Gomer" Squeaky Clean
Today's services were a little different to the norm. The normal timetable (Green) was changed to a special, intensive variant with 2 trains operating. One train was made up of the Bubblecar (DMU), whilst "Sir Gomer" and her 4 coaches made up the 2nd train. We would have 5 service trains today, as normal, though they were a little more spaced out, at 90-minute intervals rather than 75 minutes. In between our steam services the Bubblecar would run to Market Bosworth only: to connect with the 1940s event: returning in time to provide a guaranteed connection to the next steam service from Shackerstone. The extra time at Shackerstone allowed us to enjoy a cuppa' in the sunshine whilst "Sir Gomer" sat feathering away happily to herself...
"Sir Gomer" & Train at Shackerstone
I fired the first run, with Richard firing the following three, and I then fired the last one too. In between this I also drove two of the trips which was very enjoyable indeed. "Sir Gomer" is a pleasant machine to drive once she is underway, though she does have a tendency to waddle a bit, like a raft on the Atlantic. Mind you, she is powerful and free steaming and, for a lumbering industrial designed to do 5mph, does the job very well indeed on not a lot of coal. We returned the loco safely to the engine shed after another successful day and I am sure that tomorrow's crew will find her to be as useful and enjoyable as we did. A very nice day. I must thank Richard & Andy for their company and of course the Peckett for a great day. Cheers guys, Sam...

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